My wife wanted to watch North and South last night while I was gone, but after calling every video rental store in town she finally gave up. Well guess what? It was available in the Netflix “Watch Instantly” section, along with over 12,000 other movies and TV shows. But she is not the type to watch a movie on a laptop. And since the instant movie viewer currently only works via Internet Exploder, I would have to open VMWare Fusion on our mac first, start Windows, etc, etc, etc.
Enter the Netflix Player by Roku.
Rather than describe it, I’ll just show you pictures… this thing is as easy as it gets.
It works via your wired or wireless Ethernet connection (and the quality adjusts itself depending on your connection speed). The Roku folks recommend a minimum of a 1.5 Mbps connection, which means pretty much any decent high speed cable or DLS provider should work fine. Of course, dialup is out. (For DVD quality, a 4 Mbps connection is needed, but again, Comcast tests at twice that speed, even in my little town.)
While Netflix does not yet offer HD content for their instant movies, it’s only a matter of time. This player is ready for HD, with both HDMI and component connections in addition to the standard RCA connections. You also get optical audio, for all you home theater buffs out there.
I realize that there are other services available that support Netflix, like the XBox 360 and even some new DVD players. But for people who are already happy with their current system this is a great way to add Netflix.